Saturday December 4, 2021

Can't Understand the Feeling

Some Party is a newsletter sharing the latest in independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated weekly by Adam White. Each edition explores punk, garage, psych, and otherwise uncategorizable indie rock, drawing lines from proto to post and taking some weird diversions along the way.

Faze: Content

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Whatever the higher goal of this newsletter is, it should strive to be more than simply a lazy summary of my PR inbox. There are weeks when I worry that it's a little too close for comfort. While it tickles my contrarian side to imagine Some Party as some free-wheeling pulse-of-the-underground outlier, I'm not deluded enough to believe I could assemble it wholly free of the industry (at least not weekly). There's too much Canada and not enough time. On that note, it always thrills me to, even at the last minute, stumble across something like the new Faze record - and to hear of it not from a publicist but through my weird little circle of miscreants. One of the reasons this newsletter exists is to help amplify cool shit like this above the prevailing narrative. Whether I accomplish that, on average, is for someone else to decide, but let's talk about Faze.

The Montreal punk group's back with their first slate of new material in three years. The five-song Content EP lands via Richmond's 11 PM Records, available on 7" vinyl shipping out later this month. You can stream the complete set (and check out Bill Connors' distinctively gnarly cover art) at Bandcamp now. Picking up where the group let off on their prophetically-named 2018 EP (Struggling to enjoy ourselves while the world slowly implodes), the new set tangles its hardcore roots in spacey psych-rock influences. Fans of Slow Dawn, S.H.I.T., PRIORS, and Psychic Void should find a lot to love here. Paul Edwards recorded these songs at Montreal's Houdini Wreckordings, mixing with Geoff Clifford.

Faze last issued a live set in 2020, with the super lo-fi The inaudible sounds of... captured the prior year at the I Can't Believe It's Not Paris festival.

Sweet Dave: "Awesome Feeling"

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TV Freaks frontman David O'Connor has another record on the way in his solo guise of Sweet Dave. Now More Than Ever lands in February as an extremely limited lathe-cut vinyl 12", following up 2020's sophomore effort Pink Dreams. Like that record, Dave leaves his punker inclinations for the Freaks and dives headfirst into goth and new wave, crafting some wildly off-kilter psych-pop steeped in electronics. The album features appearances from several members of TV Freaks' extended circle, including Sarah Hardy, Vee Bell, Dan Empringham, Angie Lanza (Uncontrollable Urge), Caleb Collins, Lowell Sostomi (CIVIC TV), and Jessy Lanza. O'Connor recorded and mixed with Boxcar Sound's Sean Pearson. Mikey Young of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring mastered the album.

You can groove along to the album-opening "Awesome Feeling" at Bandcamp.

This set follows both Pink Dreams and Dave's 2017's solo debut Mental Jails (released as Sweet Dave and The Shallow Graves). It arrives chasing the April debut of Burgundy Boys, the "unthunk punk" side-project of O'Connor and Nathan Burger. TV Freaks-proper last issued the ambitious People LP in 2020 through Schizophrenic.

Young Guv: "Only Wanna See U Tonight"

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Last week Ben Cook's Young Guv issued a second single from their upcoming double LPs GUV III and GUV IV. "Only Wanna See U Tonight" is a bright power-pop tune with soaring choruses and one foot in the 60s, emblematic of the nostalgic vibes Cook honed on the past few Guv records. The Toronto musician commented:

"After being stranded due to Covid mid-tour in March 2020, we headed deep into the New Mexico high desert mountains. We got a house from a friend of a friend, and had no idea what to do with ourselves except to start writing right away. Within hours we had a little studio set up and this was the first song we came up remotely via WhatsApp with Tommy The Major who had escaped back to his home in Sudbury, Ontario. I heard Tony strumming the first three chords of the chorus with a little bit of a melody from the kitchen and a couple hours later this song was done."

The single arrives alongside a video co-directed by Cook and Faiza Kracheni. The upcoming albums feature material written while isolating in Taos, New Mexico and later recorded in LA.

GUV III arrives March 11 through Run For Cover and Hand Drawn Dracula. Cook issued the similarly presented GUV I and II LPs in 2019.

Mononegatives: Mystery Girl split

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It's been a long two weeks since the last EP from London's Mononegatives, but the gruelling wait for a follow-up is finally over. This week, the synth-punk trio has a new split EP out shared with Albany's Mystery Girl. The Monos contribute three tracks to their side, recording at The Watershed with Preston Lobzun. Mystery Girl offers up a new original along with a Hollywood Brats cover.

Too wired to stay in one place for very long, Mononegatives shuffled their roles for this record with Robbie Brake still singing but now playing bass, Joe Lamont hopping on guitar, and David Cereghini behind the drum kit. The set, mastered by Will Killingsworth, arrives on 7" vinyl through the upstate New York labels Feral Kid and Brain Slash.

Last month, Mononegatives unleashed the Frequencies Rotating Clockwise single through LA's Dowd Records. Earlier this year, the prolific group issued a split cassette with Lima, Ohio's Brainspots and a limited tape via Italy's Mimetics Zine. All this material follows up the band's 2020 full-length Apparatus Division, available through Big Neck and No Front Teeth.

ROY: Capitalism

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Patrick Lefler's Toronto-based psych-pop project ROY surprised this week with a brand new album. Capitalism defies its title by arriving as a free download via Bandcamp. The record also carries a playful concept, making "Saga of the Dancing Raincoat" and "I'm a Bic" more than just quirky song titles:

"Each and every song embodies the personality and sonic capabilities of the object in the song title. Many songs feature the actual use the of the object itself to creative psycho acoustic soundscapes capable of projecting the listener into a world run by objects, not people. Every object is owned and loved and plays a critical role in the daily life of ROY."

Lefler recorded at The Submarine and Maison Du Bonheur with Jeff McMurrich mastering at Sonology. The 10-song set follows May's Idée Fixe LP, Roy's Garage (not to mention July's Lunar Gardens album as one-fifth of Possum).

Possum: "Leyline Riders"

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Speaking of Possum, the Toronto psych quintet promoted the repress of Lunar Gardens with a new video for "Leyline Riders." The clip, featuring a swirling trip by visual arts collective The Oscillitarium, premiered last week through Its Psychedelic Baby. The new pressing, the record's second, ships out in early December.

Lunar Gardens arrived in July through Idée Fixe Records, following up 2019's Space Grade Assembly. Possum plays as a quintet featuring Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Patrick Lefler, Christopher Shannon, and Bradley Thibodeau. Sisters Sarah and Sophia Bassakyros join Hopwood as members of The Oscillitarium.

Imploders: EXD

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Toronto's Imploders preview their forthcoming LP on a new live tape available through Neon Taste. EXD features ten songs, six brand new, recorded live off the floor. You can pick up one of the limited cassettes (with super gross cover art by Dylan "Skulls" Bowden) at Bandcamp. Christian Turner mixed and mastered the set.

Imploders surfaced this past summer with a self-titled EP brimming with Californian hardcore influences. The band features ex-Average Times member Todd Faux on vocals, Joey Parenteau (Vicious Cycle, Pink Wine) on guitar, Mikey Microwave (First Base, Teen Archer) on bass, and Curtis Tone (PlasticHeads, School Damage) drumming. The group recently played their first show, opening Chain Whip's one-stop Ontario tour. Their next big gig's lined up for February 5 at Hamilton's Doors Pub with labelmates Anxious Pleasers, plus School Damage and Neurasthenia.

FHANG: "Fleur Du Mal"

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Somewhere in last month's blind spot, the evocative Montreal psych duo FHANG released an excellent debut LP that I've yet to cover. The self-titled nine-song set arrived in late August through Hidden Ship. The group pairs producer Sam Woywitka (Half Moon Run engineer) and bassist Mishka Stein (Leonard Cohen, TEKE::TEKE, Patrick Watson) on a cerebral and oft-ominous cycle of atmospheric songs.

The group recently premiered a video for the album-closing "Fleur Du Mal," as showcased in a new feature at Also Cool. The band's touting the self-directed piece as "Lord of the Rings without the budget." You can decide for yourself over at YouTube.

NOBRO: "Julia"

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Montreal's high-energy NOBRO continues to roll out quality one-off singles to mark thier return to the road, with "Julia" following last month's massive "Better Each Day." While less bombastic than its predecessor, this one's no less hooky. In a statement, Kathryn McCaughey commented:

"The song almost wrote itself. The 'Julia-ya ya' hook had been in my head for a couple days and with the help of our producer Thom D'Arcy we put together enough of a demo to make the song make sense, but the real magic happened when we went to record it. We couldn't decide on a speed at first because our normal 'shred your face off' pace was not the vibe, but then we decided it was OK to live life mid-tempo. And voilà, the song was born."

The new material arrives via Dine Alone Records as the follow-up to 2020's Sick Hustle EP. NOBRO features vocalist/bassist Kathryn McCaughey, guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, Lisandre Bourdages on keys and percussion, and drummer Sarah Dion.

Sweet and Lowdown: Nihilism Now!

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Toronto pop-punk quartet Sweet and Lowdown returned this weekend with Nihilism Now!, a new 9-song full-length and the follow-up to the group's 2018 LP So Down. You can pick it up for a price of your choosing at Bandcamp now. Simon Larochette (Bad River, Wine Lips) produced the new set.

On December 11, the band's celebrating their return to action with an album release show. Sweet and Lowdown play the Monarch Tavern in their hometown that evening with support from Stuck Out Here and Fern Sully.

Wares: "Cloudless"

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Edmonton's Wares has a new video online featuring a live basement performance of "Cloudless," a moody indie-rock number recently unveiled at Mint Records' Ridiculously Early Xmas Party. The band calls it "a winter song about telling your friends you're thinking of them wherever they are."

Wares last released the shoegaze-influenced Survival in April 2020, their first for the storied Vancouver label. The group features vocalist/guitarist Cassia J. Hardy backed by keyboardist Jamie Mclean, bassist Matthew Gooding, and drummer Holly Greaves.

Chris Page: "We'll Have Our Day In The Sun"

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On Bandcamp Friday Chris Page repeated a recent experiment, issuing two distinct moods of his new single. "We'll Have Our Day In The Sun" followed the pattern established last month with "A Vacuum Void of Fun." The Ottawa garage vet commented:

"Here's another shot at 'choose your own destiny' with two very different versions of the same song. The A Side is shoegaze-light indie noise-pop while the B side is a much more mellow acoustic experience, for gazing into campfires."

Outside of his solo ventures, Chris Page plays in the duo Expanda Fuzz with Leila Younis. His past work includes stints fronting Camp Radio and the 90s-era Glengarry, Ontario pop-punk group The Stand GT. Last year he released Decide To Stay and Swim Again, an LP revisiting the songs originally recorded for his 2004 solo record Decide To Stay and Swim.

The Filthy Radicals: "Scavenger"

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Toronto ska-punks The Filthy Radicals have a new video online celebrating "Scavenger," the lead single from the group's Stomp Records debut The Fine Line Between Real and Insane. The EP arrived via the Montreal ska institution last week. There's considerable Destruction by Definition energy on this one.

The gritty six-piece issued their new EP just a month after their last. Fine Line comes close on the heels of the band's Freedom 45 set for Cursed Blessings Records.

Total Waste: Total Waste

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Montreal hardcore act Total Waste recently shared their thrashy self-titled debut. The three-song EP finds the four-piece working with producer Olivier Bourgeois. The group previously shared a showcasing the single "Black & Blue" back in October.

Total Waste features Dave on vocals, Alexis on bass, J-M on guitar, and Elie drumming.

Chastity: "Vicious Circle" (ft. City and Colour)

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Last week Whitby alt-rockers Chastity shared "Vicious Circle," a vulnerable song that pairs singer/songwriter Brandon Williams with City and Colour's Dallas Green. The track arrives as the fourth single for the upcoming LP Suffer Summer, out January 13 through Deathwish Inc and Dine Alone. In a statement, Williams commented:

"Once the strings were recorded, I felt like the song became too beautiful for my voice honestly. I needed help living up to the song's potential, and asked Dallas Green if he would sing on it with me. Was genuinely so shocked and excited that he was down. Once he was on the song it turned out way friggin better than what I ever could've hoped."

You can find the song showcased in a tornado-themed lyric video from Justis Krar's IMMV Productions. Suffer Summer completes a trilogy of records that started with 2018's Death Lust and continued with Home Made Satan in 2019.

Special Costello: "If Not Depression, Then What?"

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Jeremy Costello's solo project Special Costello recently issued Life Matter Love Thought, a dense and heady mix of synth-pop, psych, shoegaze, and at least half a dozen other genres I've yet to untangle. The Halifax artist recorded these seven songs between 2016 and 2020, with the resulting set arriving on vinyl last month through Germany's Marmo Music. A video for the slyly funky "If Not Depression, Then What?" arrived a few weeks back from director Cher Hann. You can find it on YouTube now.

In recent years Costello's notably served as a member of the Beverly Glenn-Copeland touring band. That group, which includes Nick Dourado and Vulva Culture's Bianca Palmer, also recently appeared as the improvisational backing band on Fiver's Fiver with the Atlantic School Of Spontaneous Composition LP. Outside of several collections of pandemic-era experiments, Costello last released the album Fever Dream in 2017.

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